How Important are You?

Your religion does not matter as much as your relevance to mankind does.
Constance Chuks Friday

As I sat in traffic, wondering how come things are so hard yet there are a million cars on the street, and what kind of chaos will overtake us when things become easy, I heard the siren from half a mile away.  Have you ever been in traffic, in the kind of atmosphere where the sun gains intensity and everyone is hot and irritated? Where you have engine smoking cars packed by the road side? If you have, then you can understand what I was experiencing that hot afternoon when I heard the siren. I looked at my rear mirror and saw the ill-fated policemen barking orders for motorists to move out of the way as an oversized hummer jeep that served as an escort car made its way almost crushing the unfortunate cars in its path. As they approached mine, I strained to see who it was I was making room for; the president? Perhaps it was the state governor or a highly placed public servant?  To my dismay, when the Mercedes Benz came up, it had the plate number “IGBUDU 1”. I sighed; it was another moneybag with enough change to buy the state security agency and make them his private security. In our society, that culminates to being important.  As I sat there watching them harass and manhandle both pedestrians and motorists, I thought to myself, “What makes this person important, what makes anyone important?”

‘Being important’ is a term grossly abused in our society. If we should break it down or ask the layman on the street, we would realise our understanding of being important has been reduced to ‘being wealthy’ or simply put, ‘having lots of money’. I think this is because we live in a society where we literally worship money and by proxy, those who control it. Get me right, I do not have a problem with money or rich people, I intend to have lots of it and I’m working hard at it.  I differ from popular opinion in the attitude I have towards money though. People from my school of thought consider money a servant, a means to help us achieve our goals rather than a master to be submitted to. To us, money is an agent with the ability to help us accomplish our visions, and not a god to worship. Because of the wide spread poverty plaguing our society, enforced by the lack of basic amenities, it is easy to see why people get to exalt money more than it should. In societies where basic necessities like; water, electric power, education and shelter are provided, it is easier to have honourable values, but when you have to struggle for the rudimentary of life, it is easy to worship the ‘answer to everything, which is money! Nevertheless, money does not make us important; the acquisition of money does not make us any different. Money is an opportunity creator, an amplifier, not a value giver.

What then makes us important? What makes us valuable? The answer is RELEVANCE! Relevance simply means one’s ability to solve problems, answer questions or bring solutions.  Being able to solve the problem facing an area or sector of society makes you relevant in that area. Your ability to solve someone’s problem or alleviate people’s hardship makes you relevant to them.  When you have answers to the questions people are struggling with, you become relevant.  Automatically, once you become relevant to a person or a sector, you become important to them. This is a simple but ultimately effective key, both for life and success.

I can hear your mind reeling with objections and reality checks, as you wonder how this applies to you; well allow me guide your thoughts right. A principle is a rule that is general and applicable to all; it does not care about your status or mood. For example, gravity keeps all of us walking on the ground even those of us that wish we could fly. Relevance is a principle for success, without being relevant in one way or another; you cannot be of importance to mankind. You don’t also have to be an Albert Einstein or Michael Faraday to be relevant, you don’t have to discover the cure for Aids or Cancer to be relevant, you can simply be the person that washes his car every morning before he wakes up, or the person that makes sure there is coffee in the coffee machine in the office or the teller everyone wants to have attend them in your branch. All it takes to be relevant is to discover the problem you are uniquely equipped to solve, depending on your natural or acquired ability, and just solve it.

In the post Relevance…My Life, My Responsibility - Real Life Fufilment, I tried to awaken our conscience to our responsibility to society and mankind. I do believe that if we are more interested in the solutions we bring with what little blessing we have, than the amassing of wealth for the sake of gathering wealth, we will have both a better life and society. I think that everyone who worked hard and became rich has the right to spend their money as they deem fit without being judged. I only encourage that if indeed we wish to be counted important in the grand scheme of things, we would consider how relevant we are to the people in our area of influence.  The starving and malaria challenged children of east Africa may not care how rich Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are, but it is relevant and important to them that these men are very wealthy. Ask yourself, whose live would diminish if you die today, is there anyone who would have a hard time coping with some part of their lives if you are no more?   

Relevance is a search engine’s Holy Grail. People want results that are closely connected to their queries.
Marc Ostrofsky

image courtesy of Grant Cochrane,/

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.

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